Had some commotion outside of "The Compound" in Guimaras this past Sunday morning. My sister-in-law Alida, wrapped only in a towel (her husband Joery, and their three kids bathe by the well beside their nipa hut in our front yard), was outside of our gate and walking down our muddy, cow-poop-filled subdivision road. I was somewhat surprised to see Alida brazenly walking around without proper attire, after all, she does teach a preschool class in our backyard, so I thought something must be happening to warrant such behavior.
And was I right! Just down our path was my mother-in-law, The Feared Giant Lizard Killer, with a cow in tow. Alida was trying to help her nanay (mother) navigate the muddy road to our front gate. My wife's Mom had just purchased a cow about a month ago for 5,000 pesos (approximately 116 US Dollars) and now she had bought another one. However, with the rise in beef prices locally due to the upcoming Christmas holiday, Cow #2 cost P 7,000 (162 USD.) So if you are shopping for a cow in Guimaras island right now, be prepared to pay a substantially higher price for your animal.
"Where did she get the money?" I asked my wife. My sister-in-law Majorie that works as a domestic helper in Kuwait repaid a load she had made to her mother. So of course my savvy mother-in-law invests in another cow to be used for the feast at her future funeral (she is 77-years-old.) She had six funeral cows at one time, but they had to be sold to help pay off some hospital debts she incurred last year when she had a stroke. She has long since recovered and is outside at this moment with her bolo chopping up a large limb that is bigger than she is. The cows are also a sort of "insurance policy" for future emergencies.
My brother-in-law Joery takes the cows out to graze in some empty lots in our subdivision and brings them back in late evening. With the rainy season just now winding down in Guimaras, there is still an abundance of grass and other foliage for the cows to chew on. In a few month, however, that could change with the onset of summer which could dry up everything such as occurred during last year's El Niño which destroyed over P1.48 billion worth of crops in the Philippines.
In the meantime the cows are getting fat and happy, and are brushed daily by Joery and checked for ticks. They may not be as pampered as herds of Wagyu cattle which produce Kobe beef, but enjoy a restful existence, for now, on our peaceful Guimaras island.